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Category Archives: Love

The Error of Spectatorship

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Spectating is a national pastime.

We have phrases that prove this:

“Armchair quarterback”

“Backseat driver”

We spectate at so many things. We watch sports on tv. We regularly attend shows, sporting events, theatre productions, and so much more.

And, here’s what all of us do, both during and afterwards: We critique.

How was the show?

What did you like about it?

What didn’t you like?

Should I go see it? Why?

Why is this team losing the baseball game? What is the pitcher doing wrong?

On and on and on.

Now, I don’t find anything particularly wrong with us critiquing when we are enjoying entertainment.  We’re typically not hurting anyone and we are simply giving opinions.

But, I have noticed a trend of spectatorship that has gone much deeper than entertainment.

I have seen too many people being spectators of life.

While so many things are going on, while the world is constantly changing, while there is so much to be done, people remain comfortable, sitting on the sidelines of life, watching, and never participating.

And, here’s the problem: the spectator’s chair of life is one that always leads to a life of unhealthy critiques and demeaning judgments, one which never helps anyone improve or make things better.

There’s an interesting story that I’ve read plenty of times, but only recently noticed what I’m talking about in this post.  King David was bringing the ark (which was the symbol of God’s presence with his people Israel) into Jerusalem.  While doing so, an interesting thing happened.  This is found in 2 Samuel 6:14-16.

14 And David danced before the Lord with all his might, wearing a priestly garment. 15 So David and all the people of Israel brought up the Ark of the Lord with shouts of joy and the blowing of rams’ horns. 16 But as the Ark of the Lord entered the City of David, Michal, the daughter of Saul, looked down from her window. When she saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, she was filled with contempt for him.

David was dancing with joy.

People were shouting with joy.

And they even brought out the ram’s horns for the celebration!

And notice this, in verse 15, it says “all the people of Israel” were with David doing this.

Except for one.

I love the picture this story gives us of Michal, David’s wife.  She was looking down from her window.

This is the spectator’s stance: One who is positioned (at least in their own minds) high above everyone else, looking down on their idiocy, their craziness, their stupidity, despising them for what they are doing.

Could you imagine what would have happened if she would have joined the dance?

Later on, David had a conversation with her about her wrong attitude.  It didn’t go well. In fact, the end result was that Michal remained childless the rest of her life (verse 23).

I see that happening with so many people today.  They sit on the sidelines…of life, of the church, of experiences, and so much more.  And, as a result of their own critiques, they are so filled with hate and disgust that they end up living life “barren”. 

Barren of joy, excitement, life, love, and so much more.

This post today is a call: Step into life, join the dance, be a part of the party, experience all that God has for you.  Do NOT sit anymore on the sidelines of life.

There is too much at stake.

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Posted by on September 16, 2013 in Life, Love, Uncategorized

 

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True Worship

9-06-13 True Worship

I hear people talk about true worship all the time.

We discuss offering different things to God.  We talk about styles of music, or how loud someone sings.  We talk about different things in our lives that need to change.  Addictions we need to give up.  Habits we need to change.  People we need to love.

And, while all of these things might involve expressions of our worship to God, none of these things are the foundation of true worship.

Notice what Paul says in Romans 12:1,

“And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.”

There are two things that show true worship.

First, our worship exists BECAUSE of what God has done for us.  BECAUSE he gave his life for us.  BECAUSE he loves us.  BECAUSE he cares for us.  BECAUSE he sacrificed for us.

Anything less than that is not worship.

If we worship God out of some requirement to fulfill a duty, we are not truly worshiping him.  If we worship him because that is what’s expected, we are not truly worshiping him.

Worship BEGINS with Jesus, flows THROUGH us, then RETURNS to him.

If your worship does not begin with what Christ has done, then you are missing out on the foundation of worship.  It starts with Jesus.  We give ourselves to him in worship because he gave himself to us on the cross.  Our worship is a response to his actions.  Our worship flows from deep gratitude and love for he who gave his life for us.  Our capacity to worship him is directly given to us by him.

Secondly, our worship is only real when we give ourselves to God, not our things to God.

We so often relate worship to a giving up of things to God in order to honor him.

“Yes Jesus, I’ll give up that pornography to honor you.”

“Yes Jesus, I’ll give up smoking to honor you.”

“Yes Jesus, I’ll give up my car/girlfriend/boyfriend/house/$10,000 to honor you.”

Etc.

Paul makes it clear in the verse I quoted above: the only real worship is when we offer our very lives.  During Old Testament times, the sacrifice that was offered to God was placed on the altar…a whole animal, or a full amount of a prescribed edible or aromatic substance.

Much like that, Paul is stating that we must place our very bodies…our very lives on the altar.  We are not giving up things for God…we are placing our entire lives in his hands.

And, here is the most powerful thing: No matter what your issue has been…addictions, wrong attitudes such as greed or pride, wrong priorities, etc…when you place your life into the hands of God, he will set all of those things straight in your life.  

They will come as a result of your worship, not as a requirement for your worship.

Let’s worship him today in the way that is true: fully giving ourselves to him BECAUSE he fully gave himself for us.

Enjoy your worship to God!

 
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Posted by on September 6, 2013 in Bible, Life, Love, Uncategorized

 

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Why Do Problems Exist?

I love Words With Friends. If you haven’t played it, you are missing out!

I grew up with Scrabble, so I can’t get enough of this game. And, the cool part is that you can play multiple people all the time.

The key to playing the game well is not simply the types of letters you get, but the placement of those letters on the board.

(The above comment is your free game advice for the day)

There are times where I get stuck. I don’t have the letters or the positioning I want, so I’m not quite sure what to do. There are three things that I’ve discovered to solving the problem of being stuck.

1. Take a break. I have noticed that when I walk away from a game a bit, then return later, I come back with a fresh set of eyes and see things in a way I hadn’t before. Do this with your own problems. Many times it is the lack of perspective or the incorrect perspective that keeps us from solving problems. Step away, then return and look again!

2. Press forward, looking at all the options. I have noticed that sometimes I’m not giving my full attention. I’m distracted by things around me or thoughts inside of me. There are times where instead of walking away, we need to give a problem focused attention. Dig in, press forward, get the ideas going!

3. Do the best you can, then MOVE ON Sometimes, I find myself in a situation that despite my best efforts, there is simply nothing I can do. So, I do my best with what I have, then wait for the next round. Sometimes certain problems are NOT resolved according to our satisfaction. At that point, we must learn to let go and move forward. It would be worse to stay stuck.

These things have helped me get to an average of about 26 points per word. I’m beating everyone on the average, except for my brother Jordan….I guess there’s always someone who is smarter! Thanks a lot brother!!!

So, why do problems exist? They exist to be confronted!

Notice that I didn’t say “solved” or “resolved”. Now, I believe many problems do get resolved. But, the growth that we experience as people is not in the resolution of the problems we face, but in the process of dealing with those problems.

As we confront our problems…

We grow.

We learn.

We depend on others.

We take risks.

We throw fear aside.

This is why it is so important to deal with problems. Our growth as people depends on it!

Go confront something today!

 
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Posted by on July 18, 2013 in Business, Leadership, Life, Love

 

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Costco Ice Cream

6-19-13 CostcoLogo

Last night, our family had a night out at the luxurious and refined food location known as Costco.

Who can beat a hot dog and drink for $1.50?

While eating at our table, the following conversation ensued:

Child of Mine (COM): Can we have ice cream after we eat?

Me: I don’t know, but regardless, you haven’t eaten all of your food.  There’s no way I’m giving you ice cream if you don’t eat your food.  In fact, your other siblings have eaten more than you.

COM: Ok.  (this child begins to eat their food)

(Some time passes)

Me: Good job eating!

COM: My stomach aches.

(A little while later)

COM: Can I have ice cream?

Me: I thought you said your stomach ached?  Besides, ice cream will probably not be good if your stomach is upset.

Child of Mine #2 (COM2): (thinking that I said that ice cream would help an upset stomach)  My stomach is hurting too!

Me: Oh, well, I said that ice cream will NOT be good for an upset stomach.

COM2: (immediately) Oh, well, my stomach is all better now.

COM: Mine too.

Me: I still never promised you ice cream!

Apparently, people will shift their attitudes and feelings if the benefit is worth it.  In this case, an upset stomach wasn’t enough to stop them from wanting to get an ice cream.

All of us have benefits and rewards that we are willing to sacrifice for.  It’s the carrot on the stick that is in front of all of us.

All of this is acceptable and even desirable.

But, true satisfaction lies somewhere else.

It lies in the journey, not just the destination.

Work for the purpose of making money is enjoyable and acceptable.  Work for the enjoyment of that work brings satisfaction, regardless of that paycheck.

Forming relationships for the purpose of mutual benefit is enjoyable and acceptable.  Forming relationships for the enjoyment of those relationships brings satisfaction, regardless of the benefits.

Loving God, knowing that you will be blessed by Him is enjoyable and acceptable.  Loving God for the enjoyment of loving him brings true and real satisfaction, regardless of his blessings.

On this point, I think too many people see God simply as someone who will answer their prayers and give them what they want.  While this can and does happen, God is more interested in intimacy with us, which causes us to be ultimately satisfied!

The carrot on the stick isn’t bad, but some things in life are good enough as they are, regardless of the benefits received from them.

Enjoy life!

*By the way, for purposes of full disclosure, we did not get the ice cream.  My kids were happy nonetheless!  That’s because when I tell my kids what to do, they obey completely, with the best attitude possible.  My kids are quite possibly the greatest of God’s creations.  Oh, you didn’t get kids like mine?  Your kids fight, whine, and cry?  I’ll pray for you.  (/sarcasm)

 

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Accessorizing Christianity

5-28-13 Accessorizing Christianity

When did this happen?

Wristbands.  Tons of them.  Five or six of them.

My son Caleb’s wrist.

Let me repeat: When did this happen?

I don’t remember wearing all those types of things.  In fact, my wife Evelyn has had a hard time just getting me to wear a watch.  Ask her, and you can have a nice discussion about it.

After my kids got out of the pool at grandpa’s house, I was cleaning stuff up and realized how many different accessories I had to pick up.

Then, last night, I noticed something else.

5-28-13 #2 Accessorizing Christianity

Caleb has a bunk bed all to himself.  Sometimes he sleeps on the top.  Sometimes on the bottom.  Last night, he was on the top.  Apparently, he turned the bottom bunk bed into his personal accessory space, laying out perfectly all of his stuff for the next day.

If only he took care of the rest of his stuff that well!

Now, you read the title of my post and are probably thinking…

“I’ve got it!  Look right there in the second picture, there’s a cross also! It wasn’t in the first picture.  I’m an amazing detective.  I learned as a kid from all of those pictures in kid’s books where you had to compare two pictures and notice what was different.  I am highly skilled at this.  And, I also know that Jeff is going to say something about how we put on Christian themed accessories without really living the message that those accessories communicate!”

Great thoughts.  You’re a genius.  And, that is a good point.*

But, it’s not the point of this post.  Feel free to steal the idea that was inspired by my pictures and write your own post about it.  (/sarcasm)

Here was my thought.  The more accessories you have, the longer it takes to get ready.  It takes time to go through each one, putting each one on one at a time, then taking them off later in the day.

These accessories are nice.  They might have value.  But, they’re not essential.

They slow you down.  They become an unnecessary burden.

This is what I have noticed in my own life.  And, in the lives of others.

It becomes so easy to accessorize Christianity.  To add things on.  To add layer after layer of elements and eventually turn it into something it was never meant to be.

We do this in many ways:

We think that worship must be done with a certain music style.

We put models and methods into our churches that obscure the essence of Christianity.

We focus on outward appearance more than the soul.

We wait for our pastors/leaders/mentors to tell us what to do instead of going straight to Jesus and his word.

We try to make our churches look “cooler” so that they can be more popular.

And these are just a few.

Worship style is good.  Models and methods can be helpful.  A good outward appearance is necessary.  Pastors, leaders, and mentors are indispensable.  “Cool” can be good at times.

The point is not that any of these things are bad.

The problem is that sometimes they weigh us down and cause for true Christianity to get obscured.

Why don’t we make a commitment to getting rid of anything that makes it harder for us to connect with Jesus and to connect Jesus to others.  And, at the same time, choose only to use those things that accomplish the same goal.

Check this out.  Hebrews 12:1-2a says,

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.”

“weight that slows us down”

“sin that so easily trips us up”

What weights and sins do you need to release?  Remember, some weights are not sins, but they still slow us down!

Let’s run freely!

*By the way, I did have a discussion with Caleb about wearing the cross because he knows what it means, instead of simply wearing it because it looks “cool”.

 
 

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The Spotlight

Spotlight

Hey everyone!

Here is some good Friday reading for all of you.  These are stories and blogs I’ve picked up from different places.  Enjoy!

1.Mega-Church Central Christian Bringing Jesus to Sin City 

This article is about a great church, pastored by Jud Wilhite, that is being used by God to bring transformation in area of Las Vegas.  I have heard him speak multiple times and have been impacted by him.  I love it when secular news sources talk about what the church is doing!

2. Massive Submerged Structure Stumps Israeli Archaeologists

Check out this interesting story about something that has been submerged in the Sea of Galilee for thousands of years.  It will be interesting to see what it is, whenever they get a chance to find out!

3. I Want to Answer Your Leadership Questions by John Maxwell

John Maxwell is a leadership genius.  He is writing a new book.  He needs to know your questions on leadership.  Visit and submit!

4. People’s Church in Oklahoma

Here is a church that is working to help people in the midst of the storm that passed through Oklahoma.  There are many churches who are helping.  Here’s one!

5. The Single Defining Characteristic of a Manipulator by Donald Miller

A great read on people who are manipulators.  He recommends a strong course of action with them.

6. Yesterday, a bridge collapsed in Washington

Thank God no one died.  When the bridge collapsed, cars (and people) fell into the water below.  Interesting story.

7. Boy Scouts Approve Plan to Accept Openly Gay Boys

This issue has been front and center in our country for quite a few years now.  Many people have had a stake in the game regarding this policy with the Boy Scouts.  It will be interesting to see what happens with their membership as a result.

 

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Kermit Gosnell, Abortions, and a Thought About Life

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The picture above is of Kermit Gosnell.

This man killed babies born alive after botched abortions and is responsible for the death of one woman in his clinic who was there for an abortion.

For many weeks, the media was paying no attention to this man.  Finally, different media outlets started to come around to the story.

Yesterday, he was convicted of multiple counts of first degree murder and involuntary manslaughter.

You can read stories about it here, here, and here.

He faces the possibility of the death penalty as a result of his actions.

This is a horrific story and I’m sure there are others like it that will, over time, come out.

This particular case got me thinking about what many debate to be the beginning of life for a baby.  Is it at conception, or sometime in the first trimester…or second trimester?  When does this point actually happen?  When does “life” actually begin?

In the New York Times article I linked to above, this quote was made by the authors,

“While abortion rights groups argued that Dr. Gosnell operated far outside the legalities and norms of women’s health care, abortion opponents seized on the case to raise questions about the ethics of late-term abortions. Put simply, they asked why a procedure done to a living baby outside the womb is murder, but destroying a fetus of similar gestation before delivery can be legal.” [italics and bold are mine]

This is one of the most important issues.

As a society, we have declared that abortion is a matter of location.

If the baby is inside of the womb, then it is not really a living, breathing, viable baby.  But, if it moves one foot away from that location and is outside of the womb, then all of a sudden it is considered a baby!

What type of thinking is this?

This case was a victory.  Due to his murder convictions, we have declared through a 12 person jury of our peers that a baby at that stage of development is a real baby.

And, as a result, it should have the rights and privileges that any other human being has…especially the right to life.

Does that jury hold the views of every American regarding abortion?  Absolutely not.

But, it is a start.

[As a recommendation, check out liveaction.org if you want an organization to support that is bringing the life of the unborn into the forefront of our national conscience]

 

 
 

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